IWC has been on a vintage-inspired tear for quite a few months now. Following the introduction of an entirely new Ingenieur collection, based on the original 1960s style, and a 2017 Da Vinci Collection that is based on the original 1980s design, the Schaffhausen-based brand is now operating on its much-praised Pilot’s Watch, with a new edition that is (sorry for such enthusiasm) simply a killer! Reasonably sized, perfectly legit, historically relevant, tool-ish… The kind of IWC that we love. Here is the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI”, based on the 1948 RAF navigators watches.
An example of vintage IWC Mark XI – source: AnalogShift
To give some background, here is an extract from one of our in-depth article about the IWC Mark Series of watches “The Mark XI is considered by many collectors to be one of the finest military watches ever produced. The XI entered service in 1948, having been specifically built in order to help the RAF navigators during their dead reckoning duties (…) The Mark XI was introduced into the RAF (Royal Air Force) and the FAA (Fleet Air Arm) in 1948 and into the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) in 1950. At first IWC and Jaeger Le-Coultre provided the watches, however having bought 2,000 XI’s from JLC, the RAF decided to buy only from IWC (up to 1953).” The Pilot’s Watch Mark 11 with a black dial and luminescent white Arabic numerals was produced in Schaffhausen from 1948 until the early 1980s. Its career ended in 1994, when IWC decided to introduce a civilian model, the subsequent Mark XII, a watch that started the enduring tradition of Mark Pilot’s Watches, which is now represented by the recently introduced Mark XVIII.
Back to today, the year 2017… Mindful of the success of vintage watches and the appreciation of collectors for the vintage Mark XI military pieces, IWC introduces a (quite) faithful reedition – with of course a few concessions to modernity. It incorporates the most iconic elements of the vintage Mark XI, especially on the dial. This new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI”, compared to the normal Mark XVIII, features changes to the indexes as well as the hands. We find rectangular markers at 3, 6 9, and 12 plus at 12 there’s an additional triangular marker. At every hour are large, sharp and thinner numerals, different from the regular Mark XVIII, and closer to the vintage Mark XI. Of course the Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI” has cream luminous paint, which reassembles patinated tritium (i.e. the luminous material that was used back in the day.)
The hands on this new Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI” Ref. IW327007 are also inspired by the original model, with a large baton hand for the hours and a long, thin pointy hand for the minutes. The inscriptions are different on this modern reedition though, without military markings and with the modern IWC logo. However, the dial remains quite clean. The other concession to modern times is the presence of a date window at 3, however, it’s rather discreet as the date disc is matching the black dial. Overall, the look and feel of the Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI” is just cool and fresh. Nothing too fancy, just a nice tool watch like in the old days.
As for the case, IWC keeps it at 40mm diameter and in brushed stainless steel – same case as the standard Mark XVIII – with a thin bezel, which is also brushed. The caseback features specific engravings, and the watch is fitted with a soft iron cage, to protect it from magnetic fields. It will be delivered with a military-looking NATO strap, in green. Inside the case is a well-known movement, the calibre 35111 as IWC refers to it. This is actually a Sellita SW-300, most likely with an IWC engraved rotor, and it delivers 42h power reserve. The automatic winding movement ticks at 4Hz frequency and comes with 25 jewels to keep it all pivoting with minimal friction.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI” (Ref. IW327007) will be a limited edition of 1,948 pieces, priced at EUR 4,790. It will be available exclusively from Harrods in London for three months starting in July 2017. After this, it will be available for purchase in all IWC boutiques and authorized retailers. More details on iwc.com.
Technical Specifications – IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI”
- Case: 40mm diameter x 10.8mm thick – stainless steel, brushed, with soft iron cage – sapphire crystal on the dial side – 60m water resistant
- Movement: calibre 35111, Sellita SW-300 based – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 25 jewels – 42h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: green NATO strap
- Reference: IW327007
- Availability: July 2017 (first in Harrods, London for 3 months – later available worldwide)
- Price: EUR 4,790